Friday, January 25, 2013

"Should I stay or should I go now?"

Hi,

Truth be told I am, in part, glad to see the back of this week. Not that it's been any great trauma, but frankly, I could have done without the hassle.

Car Fail

The short-ish version is my car started to play up last Friday. It ended up being towed to the garage after the dreading warning light started flashing. A quick check in the handbook decoded the icon as This Might Be Expensive. :-) Anyhoo, pretty much six days later (six days!) the garage get around to looking at it and thankfully, my little car is now back on the road. Also, just in time for Chameleons too. ;-) Despite all the faffing about, ringing around, working from home (my line manager was very understanding. Plus I got loads done!) and shelling out for a hire car, all is now well. Touch wood.

For years, I didn't have a car. When the Ever Lovely Mrs J was just the Ever Lovely Miss J, she had vehicle, whereas I didn't. I was quite happy to walk, cycle or take the bus if I had to go further. Mrs J always managed to keep a car on the go and she certainly knows more about them than I do. People ask, but don't you like to drive? Honestly, no. I prefer to look out of the window; daydream, nap or listen to music. If Mrs J is unlucky, I may even talk to her ;-)

Shanks Pony

Living where we do - in a little village - a car, or more accurately, cars, are a necessity. Our arrangement with the kids is that I take them in the morning and Mrs J does the afternoon pick ups. Well, barring any visits from the grandparents. It's all very modern, what with both parents working and help from Mrs J's Mum most months.

I did look at using public transport to get in, but.... you'd be looking at a 45 minute walk to get the kids to school. I wouldn't mind that, but getting them up super early and walking their little legs off in the snow did not feel right. Plus, once at the school, the nearest bus stop would mean I'd be dropped in the middle of Nottingham. Then, that'd be another 30 minutes walk or another bus ride to where I work. So, arriving around 10am each day? No, ta! I tried cycling once, but I'm not as fit as I once was. I guess, a nine mile trip to work would sort that out wouldn't it.

Enabling

Funny thing is, going back to the personal history, I either walked or got the bus. When I started work, Mrs J had an out of town job. For my first job, I'd get a lift with her half way in and then walk the rest. My second job - the modern day Dark Satanic Mill, aka the Call Centre McJob - was shift based, so it was out with the bike and off I went. I escaped that place and kept up with the riding. I wasn't quick, I'm more of a plodder, but I was fairly fit. No, despite the constant biking, I didn't shave my legs. All those wasted years eh? :-) It was shortly after we moved house that making the 18 mile round trip, meant I was frequently late home. Mrs J, bless her, bought me a motorbike for Xmas and that was the start of our brief flirtation with two wheeled transport. I moved on to scooters as Wee Man grew up, the school run beckoned and it was time to switch to a car.

Once in a blue, I'd have the luxury of borrowing either Mrs J's car, or a hire one from work. On very rare occasions, back in the day, I'd get dressed and go for a drive (after triple checking the neighbours were out).  For me, cars help buy you freedom when you're trans and starting out. Walking means you've got to look the world in the eye *and* avoid walking like a troll with a plastic hip. The bus? Well, that's like the previous, only less walking, but closer scrutiny and once you're on, you've got to ride it out (no pun intended). Bike? Well, good luck keep your hair on when you take the helmet off. :-)

But a car....? That climate controlled tin box of faux security. Tucked behind the wheel, you can see out and most people look passed you. It's a way of being out and not out at the same time. No wonder so many trans forums have threads about people like us enjoying a drive, or going out and getting changed in the car. Yes, love them or loathe them, the car makes lots of things easier when you're trans.

Chams

Given the faffing about with the car and the to-ing & fro-ing, I wasn't in the best frame of mind to go out on Thursday night. But, as I rinsed the cold weather away in a hot shower, I thought, what if I didn't go? Sure, I'd get an early night, but there's always this nagging doubt that if I don't go, how long until the next time? With that in mind, I picked up last nights full bag and headed out.

Maddy was already upstairs when I got to the Centre. We had a good chat; plus I caught up with Alison, Sophie and Sam. It took me an age to get ready, but I think that was in part to the issue that I just couldn't decide what to wear. I'd packed boots, a skirt, top and cardy; yet much as I loved the skirt, I couldn't get the rest of the outfit right. I guess it was just me being in an awkward mood (Ed: You? Surely not Lynn! :-P ) - more on that later. So, instead, I went back to the girl - okay, mum - next door look. Okay, mum next door with sparkly eye shadow. I thought I'd go with something a bit brighter for a change.

So, mood? Just being a bit narked I think. I'm fine now; which goes to show what a good night out with friends can do for a guy/gal/undecided. Yeah... mood. Hmm. I've an appointment this week with the doctor. We're going to be reviewing my medication. I guess that means the happy tablets, so I wonder what'll happen. Will I be brave and start weaning myself off them, or cave in and try to hang on. Decisions, decisions..... Fingers crossed and think on the bright side.

Take care,
Lynn

[ Todays' lyric: Should I Stay by The Clash ]

Friday, January 18, 2013

"If you buy this record today,
It's not true what the advertisements say,
Your life won't be greatly improved."

Hi,

Being British, I feel it would be remiss of me not to mention today's weather. :-) Yes, the shock and awe of a few flakes of snow and the country goes into a panic. :-) I honestly don't know how we'd cope if we had proper snow. Namely, the levels of the white stuff that our far more northerly cousins - Canada, Finland, Norway, Russia, etc - get. Sure, it's not been great in some parts of the country, but up here in the mild Midlands, it's not so bad. Although we live out in the sticks, we're lucky in that we live on a main road that gets enough traffic to squish the snow into slush.

Dear Editor

It's not often I read a newspaper these days. I guess I can get lots of  *ahem* 'facts' from the Interwebs and all the opinion I want from blogs. :-) Anyhoo, this week the Observer ran an article penned by Julie Burchill in response to her friend's treatment on twitter. I won't go into the detail of the background, that's what Google is for and I dare say it'll do a better job of it than I. ;-)

The original article has been taken down and if I switch my Trans Force powers off for just a mo and look at the piece as Regular Joe Public.....well, I still find it offensive. :-) If someone had used the same terms at my place of work, I can't help but think that there would be a visit to HR, a review of their employment and the company's stance on non-discrimination. Ooo, it's the Thought Police, I've heard from certain areas of the company regarding HR. Joke nastily if you want, but I think there are some words/phrases that we should not use to describe people. Yes, people, because we're human. We feel pain: both physical and emotional. To lay into a community as I felt the article did..... It's really quite unpleasant. As a side note, do I like all trans folk that I've met? In the main, yes, but I would say the levels of cool/indifferent/okay/friends/twits/OMG are no different to people outside of that little world.

Oddly, I didn't email in and ask that the piece be taken down. What I did put was that I felt it was poor judgement, that it is offensive, but it should be left on-line so that people can see what some folk think of the trans community. Hell, even though it has been taken down, copies persist on the web. Perhaps we should never forget, but we should forgive? There's a question and no doubt opinions will be heated.

Changes Ahoy

This week saw another high street retailer go under: HMV. Now, to those of you from outside dear Old Blighty, HMV was a record shop.... or at least... umm... it was back in the day when people used to buy records. Even in a pre-Internet era, I didn't shop at HMV as it was too pricey for gifts and they rarely had the music in stock that I liked. Not that I had particularly avant-garde tastes, just go off the hit charts and that excludes a lot of high street shops. I say 'had' as most of the stuff I listen to now is pop. Funny how things change.

Did the Internet kill the record shop? Much as that's a bit of a mediaism at the mo, I'm not sure it's 100% true. I've read in a few business pages that HMV may have overstretched when it came to how many stores it needed, it's market model wasn't cast iron (more on that below) and yes, price is a factor.

So, market model? I read the other day that HMV's market was young folk wanting to buy singles. This was something we used to do when we were kids... back in the 80s where bandwidth meant a popular beat combo who'd been at the pies. Skip on a few years and the youth of today - or so we are lead to believe - are the wired generation aka digital natives. They've grown up with technology and as such, are a lot more tech savvy that a lot of folk. They've kinda got the head start on downloading music, so you've got to wonder what a record shop would do to keep its main income stream. Whatever it was, I'm not sure HMV pulled it off.

Likewise, announcements were made about the video rental company, Blockbuster struggling too. Okay, I've just used the word 'video'. :-) Film rentals I guess would be more accurate. Again, I'm not sure I can remember the last time I rented anything from Blockbuster. The idea of going to a shop, hoping they had a film in I wanted and then trailing back when we'd watched it. Well, in the age of LoveFilm, YouTube, iPlayer and Netflix, it seems kinda odd. Skip back a few years before on-live TV - okay, legal on-line TV - had really come into its own, Mrs J and I had subscribed to a DVD by post scheme. That suited our lifestyle at the time, but we watch less than we used to. Well, less of the horror / blockbusters and more of the kid friendly stuff now. ;-) Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

The question doing the rounds at the mo is; what will happen to our high streets and city centres? A few years ago the press where up in arms (to use a cliché  over out of town shopping killing the high street. Well, the high street survived that and maybe there's some irony in big out of town retailers going under. I know for clothes shopping, I'd rather browse a shop full of clothes (and shoes!!), than cycle through an on-line catalogue. The Ever Lovely Mrs J suggested that may be there will be more 'trying on' shops, but that you have to order the item to be delivered. Maybe we'll see more cafes and bars? Who knows. It'll be an interesting period of history to see retail change. There will be some unpleasantness in terms of job losses and a change to the landscape, but isn't that inevitable?

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Commercial ****ing Suicide by Carter USM ]

Friday, January 11, 2013

"I'm on my way from misery to happiness today"


Hi,

Come on brain, wakey wakey, it's time for another blog post. Ah, perhaps leaving this week's post until so late in the day - and after a late night - was not such a good idea. Okay. Note to self: prepare before hitting the keyboard.

Yes, I was out late last night. It was time for Chameleons, so it was off to the Centre to meet up with the great, the good and the gorgeous (luckily, most of my friends are all three). It was my first trans night out of the year and given that I'd missed the post Xmas do, it was good to catch up with folk. We chatted about how Christmas went, fun with in-laws (outlaws?) and then ooh'd and ahh'd at the snaps of Val's new grandchild (not that Val looks old enough). I had taken two outfits and I'd planned to pack my heeled boots, however, for some reason, I forgot; so it was biker chic boots. Still, easier on the feet and nice to wear something different for a change.

How many years now?

Sandi reminded me that it had been a number of years since my first visit (27th January 2006). How time has gone by. I won't say it has flown, but there have certainly been plenty of changes over the years. Some good (self acceptance, meeting new people, making friends, seeing the Black Dog depart, Mrs J's love & support, you guys for the help and comments on the blog) and some bad (mainly Black Dog - now gone a good six months! YAY!!).

Talking of the six months of freedom, Sandi pointed out that I'm more myself. It is, as I think I've said before, a bit like waking up. There are ups and downs, sure, but they are the minor speed-bumps in life. Certainly an order of magnitude difference from the perilous valleys from before. Okay, I think I've tortured that concept enough. Let's move on. :-)

Stand up and deliver?

Oh and talking of torture, I have had a look at open mic nights in Nottingham. There are a few, although there's nothing on for a few weeks. It is rather nerve racking and I wonder if I'll actually go through with it. One bit of advice was to make sure you've written some of your act before you start. Now, with blogging, I like to fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to writing stuff down. So to do I find it easier to make gags when with people; improvisation I guess. How I'll combine the two, I'm not sure, but should I have a go, I'll let you know. Alison suggested I do a gig in Lynn mode, but I'm really not sure about that.

Wind it up

Anyhoo, the Unusual Suspects were present and we wandered off to the pub around tennish (Ed: tennish. The time when Sean Connery plays at Wimbledon :-P #DadJoke ). Wow, it was cold out. It seems the warm January we'd been enjoying had packed its bags and we were very much back in Winter. To be honest, I was a little warm for me. I kinda like my winters chilly: warm fire, snugly coat and a thick duvet. Okay, the moan at work for me doing that, but I have standards you know! :-)

We had a few turns at Karaoke: Maddy and I with Linkin Park's In The End and me with Tinie Tempah's Pass Out. It was all very raptastic for some reason! Time ran away with us and soon it was time for a quick hug and then Sophie and I were off out into the cold night. All in all, a very good evening out. I feel quite refreshed!

Oh, one more thing before I go. A quick note of thanks to those of you who've contacted me or done some plugging regarding Our Different Journey. Thanks. It's very much appreciated.

Take care,
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: I'm On My way by The Proclaimers ]

Friday, January 04, 2013

"Don't you call me pudgy, portly or stout
Just now tell me once again...
who's fat"

Hey all,

Guess I've faffed about enough on the interwebs (t'interwebs? #Northern) and I should get myself into gear. Hmmm. So much for that new exercise book feel to the New Year eh? Here I am, prattling away as per. :-)

How was your Christmas? On Planet Jones, the big day went very well. The next few days, though, were rather busy with lots of too-ing and fro-ing as we did the visitor circuit. To be honest, I was glad of a sit down at the end of the week. That and the delight over deciding to book some extra holiday to extend the Christmas break.

I've been enjoying the Christmas spirit - and the cakes, chocolates, dinners, etc - this year and I think it's caught up with me. I won't say that I've put a lot of weight on, but certainly enough for it to alter my figure (such that it is). Yeah, I've got a paunch and I don't like it. I've already taken the dog for a long walk and took the kids to the park to run off some of my gut points and some of their energy off. Fingers crossed on both fronts. Next week I'll be back at work and as we've pretty much gone through all the tasty snacks we bought for Christmas, I should be on safer ground. Sure, there's a few boxes of chocolates, but as they're posh ones, they're not to be scoffed, but savoured.

It being January, the sales are upon us. I noted that some of them started earlier this year. Certainly there was the Next sale on Boxing Day and a few folk, thanks to social media.... or is it anti-social media if you're ignoring the people in the room with you? :-), had got up early to snag some alleged bargains. Next isn't for me, but we'll come to that later on.

Now, you know me. I like a bargain as much as the next tran - sorry, man - but Boxing Day? Plus.... there hasn't been much that I've seen this year, that's made me want to dash out and buy stuff. I've got my biker boots from October, I've yet to see any dresses I really like and I don't need any - dare I say this?! - new clothes for big nights out. Hell, for Invasion last month, the only thing I needed was a little black vest to go under my blouse. It's not so much a case of make-do-and-mend, more, meh really :-)

So, Next? Am I a label snob? I guess not. Not when I'm happy to shop at Dorothy Perkins, New Look. H&M or Debenhams. I don't consider the latter names to be better. The only reason I don't shop at Asda or Primark is that I don't tend to see items I like. I suppose it's more that I'm not a fan of the image Next presents.... or one that's associated with it.

Please, don't get me wrong, I think some of the clothes are fab. Indeed, a (trans) friend often wears their clothes and she looks great. I guess it's more about me and what I like, rather than a failing of the store per say. I think what puts me off is when folk dress head to toe with a particular brand or fashion. Today for example, I was out with the kids at the local park in the city. Cue a series of middle class types (myself included) standing about. Some of them where the full on Yummy Mummy or Casual Dad. I'll leave you to assign clothing to those stereotypes, but if you can't be bothered, just thing beige in the megawatt range. Maybe there's some crazy inverse snobbery going on, but I'm not post-modern enough to be able to wangle that into a blog post. :-)

But moving on from my view, what about you, dear reader? Do you prefer the high street, on-line shopping or a more boutique experience? Are you someone who tries on in store, or are you more a take-away lady, preferring the comfort of your own home, against the hot lights of the changing room?

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Fat by Weird Al ]